FIFA’s decision on which cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico will host the World Cup in 2026 is likely to be made at the beginning of April 2022.
The selection process to reduce candidate host cities to definitive host cities has been delayed several times. Not surprisingly, this was the result of the Covid pandemic. The world football association FIFA had to convert the first series of introductions to online meetings. And Covid also has the physical visits, later, postponed several times. Anyhow, this is the status of the allocation of the 2026 World Cup host cities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico:
- The latest news is that FIFA will make the 2026 World Cup cities decision at the end of March, beginning of April 2022.
- FIFA is trying to provide clarity at the end of Q2 anyway.
- Now, at the beginning of 2022, a thorough assessment is taking place after the completed inspection tour.
- The final round of site visits took place from November 17 to 22, 2021, in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Los Angeles, Edmonton and Toronto.
- Between October 21 and November 1, 2021 it was the turn of Kansas City, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Monterrey, San Francisco, and Seattle.
- The inspection visits kicked off in September 2021, in the cities of Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami and the New York-New Jersey area.
- Montreal withdrew as a candidate host city in July 2021, in short due to a budget deficit.
- Note: Los Angeles has SoFi Stadium and the Rose Bowl as potential venues.
- FIFA will probably choose sixteen host cities. However, this number may still vary.
- In 2018, 23 candidate host cities successfully applied, being part of the United 2026 BID of the three North American countries.
Allocation 2026 World Cup cities
FIFA chief tournaments and events officer is Colin Smith. Closely involved in the site visits is the CONCACAF, the continental union for North America, among others. Led by President Victor Montagliani who also holds the position of FIFA Vice-President.
Which factors determine the allocation of the 2026 World Cup cities? There are many and major challenges for the cities, stadiums and organization as a whole. Various factors play a decisive role in completing this complex puzzle. Such as those in relation to logistics and infrastructure; including stadiums, training facilities and potential FIFA Fan Festival™ venues. Accommodation, venue management, communications, and sustainability are other main ingredients for this essential puzzle. Naturally, the same applies to commercial, legal and legacy matters.
2022 World Cup: only 8 stadiums | 2026 WC 16 or 17
Transportation and distances play an extra important role for the 2026 World Cup because of the large surface area of the three organizing countries. At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there will only be eight stadiums within a 50-mile radius. But now there’s the scoop of three hosts, with likely 16 or 17 stadiums in total. Each and every one of the host countries is a large nation (USA, Canada, Mexico). And the host cities often have substantial differences in climate, heights, temperature and distances. That leads to major challenges in terms of the World Cup time zones and travel schedules for many of the teams and fans. Obviously, FIFA wants to limit these distances for the participating teams and their fans as much as possible, also by drawing up an optimal schedule.
In addition, there also are substantial differences between the stadiums. As an example, whether or not the stadium has a (semi-) closed roof. Another example: the presence or absence of above-average advanced services and technologies. Furthermore, still one of the issues for many of the pitches is converting synthetic fields to grass surfaces, which is required by FIFA.
Remaining candidates for final 2026 World Cup cities decision
As mentioned, FIFA will likely choose 16 host cities, but this number may (slightly) vary. The world federation looks at the total of all advantages, disadvantages and factors that weigh in. Will there be sixteen hosts for the global finals in 2026? Then Canada will have possibly two, Mexico three, and the United States eleven 2026 World Cup host cities. The main candidate for the final is the MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey.
The (probably) sixteen final host cities at the 2026 soccer tournament will host a total of 80 matches. The starting point is 60 matches in the United States, and twice ten matches in both other countries. This large number of matches is the result of the record number of participating country teams: 48. The qualifiers will start in 2023 and last until 2025.
Canada host cities (potential): Toronto and Edmonton.
Mexico host cities (potential): Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.
United States host cities (potential): Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.